WONDER. September 21 - October 21, 2017 -- Silverlens Galleries

Solo exhibition of Mark Andy Garcia
Silverlens Galleries
21 September - 21 October, 2017

*Music and film by Rog Castillo II

Wonder is a word that’s constantly under-valued and over-used and misrepresented, often whittled down to retrofit a standard lower than what it deserves. Wonder is also the title of Mark Andy Garcia’s new show, chosen for how it encapsulates the emotional timber not just of the work but also of the process by which he got there. There’s a sincerity to the way Garcia co-opts the word and the sensation it implies and to the way he folds those implications into the context of his new work. Terribly determined as he is to situate aspects of himself and his circumstances into his work, he has always tapped into his own life for surplus. When Garcia talks about his work, he’s invariably and unwittingly talking about his life too, the all too tangible minutiae of the everyday, his everyday. But this almost profound appreciation for the minutiae of the personal comes from how it is also a life tinged with a belief that there is something larger than himself working behind everything. Impossible To Measure is the title he uses to name the piece that explores his spirituality, and it’s a title that speaks volumes. If nothing else, this belief is his original source of wonder.

But the wonder he refers to in the show’s title is a quieter sense of wonder. The wonder of rising above one’s station for one, as a man and an artist both. Much as he’s talking about the exhilaration of coming out on the other end of a life struggle with his art and his family and his self intact, Garcia is also talking about transcending into a new way of seeing things, and consequently a new mode of creating. 

Wonder diverges from his past work in terms of form and process. The pieces are larger, the paint thicker, the colors fiercer. There’s a marked absence of people in the new work. There are still people, sure, lingering in the peripheries, nuancing the work, but for the most part they’re landscapes albeit not in the strict, literal sense. They have instead the bearing of landscapes, a similar sense of geography, of expanse, of breadth. But Garcia has been allowing himself to be more diffuse, more allusive, more evasive even, and in discarding the directness and figuration, or the directness of the figuration, that has marked his work before this, he has started to look inward where he used to look outward.

But the show ultimately diverges from his past work in the sense that he has attained an equilibrium, an equilibrium that comes with a palpable sense of contentment, albeit a contentment that remains perpetually shadowed and undercut by ambivalence. In one of the pieces in the show, In Process of Time, light and dark are divided almost evenly, as if to say that both sides bear equal gravity and that the line between the two is so thin it often blurs. In many ways, this codifies his sentiments, which are essentially that of a man who may have been forced by life at some point to consider abandoning his art but has been granted a reprieve.

Exhibition notes by Dodo Dayao

Photographs by Rogelio Castillo II

"The Walk", oil on canvas, 60x120 inches - 2017

"The Walk" (detail 1)

"The Walk" (detail 2)

"The Walk" (detail 3)

"In Process of Time", oil on canvas, 72x72 inches - 2017 

"In Process of Time", (detail 1)

"In Process of Time", (detail 2)

"In Process of Time", (detail 3)

"Under the Sun 1", oil on canvas, 48x48 inches - 2017

"Under the Sun 1" (detail 1)

"Under the Sun 1" (detail 2)

"Under the Sun 1" (detail 2)

"Impossible to Measure", oil on canvas, 60x96 inches - 2017

"Impossible to Measure" (detail 1)

"Impossible to Measure" (detail 2)

"Impossible to Measure" (detail 3)

"Under the Sun 2", oil on canvas, 48x48 inches - 2017

"Under the Sun 2" (detail 1)

"Under the Sun 2" (detail 2)

"Under the Sun 2" (detail 3)